Cochlear implant has changed Noosa toddler’s life
LITTLE Harry De Koning is a happy, smiling 14-month-old toddler who’s taken his first steps and, more recently, said his first word – mamma.
That word brought tears to the eyes of his parents Kate and Andrew De Koning of Noosaville because it was a milestone they weren’t sure he’d reach.
Harry was born deaf and received a cochlear implant on March 27.
“He’s found his voice and he loves it – he’s a big chatterbox,” Mrs De Koning said.
“He’s doing all the baby talk and babbling and there are all these different sounds he makes.
“It melts your heart.
“As a parent, you wonder if he’s going to have a normal life,” she said.
Mrs De Koning said she and her husband didn’t really know who to turn to for help after receiving the diagnosis when Harry was about six weeks old.
“Hearing that was a shock,” she said.
“There is no family history (of hearing impairment), and our older daughter Stella, who is six, is fine.
“The Brisbane Children’s Hospital put us in touch with the Hear and Say Centre and, without them, I don’t know what we would have done.”
On Thursday Hear and Say launched a 24-hour online appeal called the Here to Stay Giving Day.
It’s a new way to raise money this year because coronavirus restrictions have forced Hear and Say to cancel three of its annual fundraisers and transition many clinical services to online telepractice – both of which contribute to 75% of its overall income.
Hear and Say CEO Chris McCarthy said although this was a challenging and financially tough time as a not-for-profit organisation, Hear and Say was committed to supporting families impacted by hearing loss for the long term.
“We know that children and babies with hearing loss cannot wait – every day without sound can limit their potential, particularly those early years while a child’s brain is still actively developing,” McCarthy said.
“We are now calling on the generous assistance of the community to ensure we can continue to provide support for children and adults alike so they can live life unaffected by hearing loss.”
The Hear and Say: Here to Stay Giving Day is a 24-hour online fundraising event which will raise vital funds to safeguard Hear and Say’s work.
“We know Australians are struggling and it can be tough to dig deep but we encourage those who can to band together and give, and what’s particularly exciting about this Giving Day is that every donation will be matched by one of our corporate and philanthropic supporters, which means Giving Day donors will see the impact of their gifts immediately doubled,” McCarthy said.
To donate visit www.hearandsay.com.au/heretostay.